Of Books and Men

I like to read, a lot. I mostly read non-fiction because I feel it helps me to learn and expand my world. I feel I get more out of a book that broadens my horizons, that gives me tools I can use in my life. I probably read more than your average reader does, about 4 books a month - I guess I can thank my Input and Learner talents (more about talents in upcoming posts).

Quite often after I've finished a book, I find myself thinking that what was said could have been said using less pages. It's like the authors feel (0r the publishers demand?) that the book has to have a minimum number of pages. It seems to me that this minimum is around 200 pages. Even though the whole point with explanations and examples and what not could be presented on about 100 pages or a bit more. Almost every book has these parts/chapters/blocks that are not necessary. Its like out of a 250 page book 120 give 90% of the value. The rest are not necessary.

Why is that? Is is because thicker books sell better? That the buyer feels the money was invested better if the book has more pages? Maybe then there should be a "price per page" indicator next to every book in the bookshop so customers could see the value? If anyone truly thinks this way, it is ridiculous. Or is it that if the book has less pages it might seem that the author doesn't have much to say? Some books are based on an extensive research and if I would like to know all the hard data I might as well go after the thousands of research documents. But I don't, I want to know the outcomes and conclusions of the research. And in most of the cases what truly matters can be said using less pages.

We live in a fast paced world and cutting down on pages might attract more people to read, cause then they don't have to feel 'Oh my good when am I going to find all this time to read this book!?'. Publishers might even start making more money because people will have more time on their hands to read more books.

(You can follow the books I'm reading at any point of time on the right. Feel free to ask for recommendations)


Jaan said...

Extremely practical approach to reading :P
Let's draw a comparison with eating. You can consider it as a necessary evil: you gotta get the stuff your body needs, so you eat in a hurried manner, thankful for the vitamins etc, but deeply stressed for the time wasted.
Or you can dedicate many evenings for slow cooking with your loved one or friends, valuing it as one of the means to enjoy life and be happy.
Same applies to reading - you can read with the aim of getting "useful" information. At the same time, it's possible to read "just" for enjoyment, relaxation as well. Btw, concerning behavioural psychology of human beings, purely fictional books are "useful" too ;-)

Peep said...

The world is diverse and so is taste in books. I truly enjoy non-fiction more, which is why I read them more.

I hear what you're saying, but I guess when I get a bit frustrated with the "additional" pages, its also that I don't enjoy reading them as much.

I guess fiction compares more to a 3-course gourmet meal with a glass of wine and the amount of pages is not that important because you read with a different set of mind and goals.

In the end, we all define for ourselves why we read and what is the experience that we are after.

Nice to hear from you Jaan!